Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hi! Nice to meet you.

One of the best things about getting older, for me, is that I get to know myself better every day.  Every time one of these realizations clicks into place, I feel a little bit relieved, similar to when you have been trying to remember a name from your past for weeks, and then suddenly, you're sitting at a stoplight and it pops into your head.  Phew!

For instance, I was sitting at a college football game this past Saturday.  It was supposed to be a fun outting, but I was really uncomfortable and not that happy to be there.  I couldn't figure out why I was not in a better mood; I was just watching the score clock, wishing it were 4th quarter already.  Suddenly, it hit me: I don't like to go to football games, or really most big sporting events.  There are too many people, and I start to freak out and wonder, what if I lost my balance and fell into this crowd?  I eavesdrop on all the conversations around me or get tranfixed by cheerleader stunts and hair bows, completely missing the most crucial play of the game.  I would so much rather watch football on TV.  I don't have to worry about the weather or the guy behind me who keeps kicking me accidentally, and when I have to go the bathroom, I don't have to say "excuse me, pardon me, sorry" one hundred times and wait in line for 25 minutes. 

This thought got me to thinking about the other times I find myself inexplicably in a bad mood when I am supposed to be doing something fun.  Here are some more thoughts I had:
  • I don't like cucumbers.  When I add them to my bowl at a salad bar, I find myself eating around them. 
  • I don't like to host parties; I stress too much about preparation, worry that everyone will be bored, and get too crabby about cleaning up afterward. 
  • I hate blow drying my hair; it's one of the reasons I have a hard time getting out of bed for work in the morning.
  • I am kind of a private person, and I don't like sharing details of my life in small talk when I am at the doctor's office or getting my hair done. 
  • I prefer to go to movies by myself.
  • I don't like to be in charge of outtings or events.  I feel so much responsiblity for everyone to have a good time that usually I can't have much fun myself.
Some of these are silly and certainly not life shattering.  I just find it funny how little I knew about my likes and dislikes, and that even after 30 years, there are things to learn.  And really, why be wasteful and put perfectly good cucumbers in your salad if you're not going to eat them? 

But some of these things bother me.  I see that I am often so anxious to be pleasing or fit in with a fun group outting that I do things and go places I don't like.  I take on social roles that people seem to expect out of me just to make them happy or (and how high school is this) to make them like me. 

It comes down to a lot of insecurities that I have clearly not outgrown.  I wonder if we ever outgrow the insecurity that we won't have friends if we don't do or say what people like or expect of us.  Maybe we just tuck those feelings away and try to ignore them or lie to ourselves about who we truly are because we are afraid of being alone. 

It's a little uncomfortable to peel away these layers.  But at the same time, I feel relief.  I am letting go of more and more things that are weighing me down and keeping me from being truly happy.  I also am finding that the better I get to know myself, my true self, the more I like that girl.

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